Can new ‘Dallas’ recapture the magic?

I’m not saying my friends and ever did this, but you could turn the old “Dallas” series into a pretty good drinking game.

During much of the original run of the series, which appeared on CBS on Friday nights from 1978 to 1991, my friends and I made watching the primetime soap a part of our “getting into the weekend” ritual. Before we would go out to a movie — often a midnight show — or otherwise fritter away our lives, we would gather at a friend’s house and watch the latest exploits of J.R., Bobby and the other Ewings.

Again, I’m not saying we did this, but you could get pretty hammered if you took a drink of some beverage every time one of the Ewings did. It was a given that the minute J.R. or Jock or Bobby or Sue Ellen — especially Sue Ellen — walked into the living room at Southfork Ranch, they would head for the bar tucked up against one wall. They would pour themselves a drink and settle in for some talk about the oil “bidness” or the latest family intrigue.

The show was a ratings sensation, of course, and its impact was global. I visited a friend in Vancouver, Canada in 1984 and talked to people who — kind of jokingly, kind of seriously – thought “Dallas” was an accurate depiction of the typical American family.

I’m looking forward to seeing TNT’s “Dallas” revival series next summer. Many of the actors will be back, not just Patrick Duffy and Larry Hagman, but favorites like Linda Gray as Sue Ellen and Steve Kanaly as Ray Krebbs, family patriarch Jock Ewing’s illegitimate son.

Of course, much of the focus will be on actors playing John Ross and Christopher, the children of J.R. and Bobby. I wish we could see some obscure favorites like Val and Gary Ewing and Punk Anderson. And we need to see a trip to the Cattlemen’s Club for lunch at least a couple of times.

I’ll be watching “Dallas” next summer. I won’t be playing a drinking game, even though I’m hoping the sudsy action sends the Ewings to the bar frequently. And I’m hoping the show is enough fun to entertain a new generation of fans.

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